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CNN Tonight

Trump Argues Against Strict Evidence Rules; GOP Candidates Are Attacking Harris; A Pregnant Woman Was Arrested Due To Faulty Facial Recognition. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 07, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I'm Laura Coates. Thank you so much for watching. "CNN Tonight" with Sara Sidner, the amazing woman that she is and reporter starts right now. Hey, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Hey, great show from you. Watched the whole thing.


SIDNER: Thank you. Appreciate it.

COATES: Nice to see you.

SIDNER: I did.


SIDNER: All right, see you soon.

Good evening to you. I'm Sara Sidner. This is "CNN Tonight." Donald Trump trying to use freedom of speech to knock down Special Counsel Jack Smith's request to a federal judge to impose restrictions on what Trump can say about evidence in the 2020 election interference case. His attorneys accusing prosecutors of trying to restrict Trump's First Amendment rights. We'll talk about it.

Also, ahead, on the attack, a new political target in the 2024 race for the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris. Republican candidates are increasingly going after her, suggesting that a vote for Biden at his age is really a vote for Harris.

And should we be afraid of facial recognition technology? A Detroit mother explains what happened to her when police used it while she was eight months pregnant.


PORCHA WOODRUFF, WRONGLY ACCUSED BY FALSE FACIAL RECOGNITION MATCH: Ran downstairs and I opened the door. And it was about six police officers standing at my door. The officer asked, are you Porcha Woodruff? I said, yes. I was happy. She said, well, I have a warrant for your arrest. Initially, I was like, okay, you can't -- what do you mean? Like you can't have a warrant. What do you mean? I thought it was a joke.


SIDNER: My full interview with her -- my full interview with her is just ahead tonight.

But first, Trump's lawyers are fighting against constraining their clients' tirades in the latest case against him. "Tomorrow's News Tonight," a short time ago, Judge Tanya Chutkan indicated she'll hold a hearing on the prosecution's request for protective order to restrict what Donald Trump and his legal team are allowed to share publicly. She wants both parties to present her with options by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow when a hearing can be held.

I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney and all-around fabulous human, and Jennifer Rodgers, also fantastic, a former federal prosecutor.

Judge Joey, to you first. The judge is wasting no time here, putting a deadline, saying 3 p.m. tomorrow. Do you think that there will be a ruling tomorrow?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So, I don't know that there will be a ruling tomorrow, Sara, but I certainly think it's the beginning of what the judge will contemplate will be the guidelines and the guardrails for the case, right?

Protective orders are not unique in cases, right? You have to, when you're giving discovery, which is information necessary for a case to move forward, prosecutors -- Jen will tell you -- have all of this discovery and information that they have to hand over to people like me, defense attorneys, to evaluate, to assess.

And it's certainly appropriate for a judge to say, hey, we're going to limit what defense attorneys can do, even as it relates, Sara, not only to the public dissemination, but as it relates to your client. We don't want you to give copies to your client. If you do, you're to redact specific information to protect witnesses.

So, I think if there are concerns with respect to how that information is going to play out, the judge is doing the right thing. Let's have a hearing, let's talk about what the protocol should be, let's get a ruling moving forward, and I think -- I mean, it could be as early as tomorrow, but I think, certainly, it will be shortly thereafter if it's not.

SIDNER: Take a look at the arguments maybe --

JACKSON: Yes, absolutely.

SIDNER: -- and then come back the next day potentially. Jennifer, Trump's legal team is responding. Here's what some of them are saying to the special counsel's proposal for a protective order restricting what Trump can say about the evidence. Trump's team says the proposal imposes on his First Amendment rights. Will that argument fly?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, no, it does not fly at all. It is grounded. It is as grounded as the argument that the First Amendment protects his commission of crimes. Neither of these things make sense.

Discovery and protective orders are about, as Joey said, giving the information to the defense so that they can prepare their case. It's not about letting him speak publicly about the evidence, about what could happen with witnesses.

I mean, one of the things the judge is going to have to weigh here is the possible intimidation of witnesses, the impingement upon the integrity of the proceedings, the privacy of witnesses, their safety.


We've had lots of instances where Donald Trump has threatened, intimidated witnesses, jurors, grand jurors, judges in the past. The judge should not let him do that. That is not infringing on his First Amendment rights. That is her control over the trial process. She has to safeguard the defendant's rights, but she also has to make sure that witnesses and the integrity of the process are protected as well.

SIDNER: Donald Trump on his social media has already gone after the judge in this particular case in Washington, D.C. and over and over again, the special counsel.

Here's something that he said that has put into this request for him basically not to be able to say everything he wants about the evidence in the case. He said, if you go after me, I'm coming after you, to argue against these restrictions. Now, the Trump team says, look, he wasn't threatening, he was just using generalized political speech.

I mean, is that a possibility? It sounds like a bit of a threat.

JACKSON: Yeah. So, Sara, the problem is, is that words matter? How you direct those words matter? The context of the words matters? What you suggest that people should do matters? And I think there's no greater, really, evidence of that than January 6th and the statements that the president made at the time.

Now, certainly, the indictment doesn't relate to that, but it proves the point, that when you say things and you have followers that buy into things, people could get hurt, right?

And so, you have to protect the dignity of the process, the decorum of the process, but most importantly, right, people's bodily integrity, right? People can come after others. So, I think that -- and even we saw it with the speaker, remember, who got attacked, the speaker's husband.

And so, yes, enough of this. Let's have a trial, let's have an appropriate trial, and constrain your client so that he doesn't do anything to get people who could really have a problem.

SIDNER: I have to just ask you, just as a defense attorney.


SIDNER: They are, you know, vigorously defending him in this. But behind the scenes, are they concerned about their client constantly doing these things?

JACKSON: So, I think there's a lot of concern. I think there's concern with respect to the allegations. There's concern with regard to the defenses they're raising as it relates to this First Amendment and how the First Amendment protects anything and anything that you possibly can do. That's not true.

And then, obviously, I think there's concern about the client really going off the reservation and being a person who you cannot constrain. And the judge may have a lot to say about that with respect to what he can do and not only what he can do and what he can say. We know he doesn't necessarily listen to everyone. What happens to him as a result of what he does and if he violates the judge's order?

SIDNER: Jennifer, in the Trump team filing, they referenced this recent post from President Biden that alludes to the dark Brandon memes, arguing that Biden is capitalizing off the indictment during a campaign, and they're trying to make the argument that, you know, this is a similar kind of political speech. But Biden is not under indictment, last I checked.

RODGERS: Yeah, nor is Biden threatening witnesses or judges or other participants in the proceedings. I mean, this is -- this is apples and oranges. You know, he can go out and make his political speeches. He can say he'd be a better president than Biden. He can say all of the things he wants to say.

But disclosing confidential witness information, threatening people, telling his followers to get these people, I mean, all of these things are out of bounds for, I think, obvious reasons. And I think Joey's right. I think the judge is going to keep him on a very short leash with this stuff.

SIDNER: I, you know, having sat through a couple of these trials, one of the seditious conspiracy trials with the Oath Keepers where you had multiple defendants, some of those defendants literally said that Donald Trump inspired them to do what they did and they used that as a defense. It did not work. But to your point, that words matter. There were people that took those words and his words very seriously and went forth and committed crimes.

I want to take a closer look at another of Trump's legal defenses here. What do you think of this idea of aspirational argument?

JACKSON: I think that -- you know, look, we live in a country, of course, Sara, where speech is protected. But there are limitations on speech and we all know that. What are they? You can't defame someone as it relates to saying things that are false, that impair and impugn their reputation, their integrity and cause them injury. You can't yell fire in a theater. What's my point? My point is that you can't just get away with plotting schemes about fake electors, about telling the vice president of the United States to halt this and reverse the process, about getting involved in making phone calls that tell people to find votes. It's not aspirational. Those are actions that lead to, right, significant crimes.

And so, whether it is a crime will be a jury's determination. But you can't excuse crimes merely by saying it is protected speech. There's nothing to see here. That's not how the process works.

SIDNER: Just really quickly, Chris Christie talked about this, and I want to get to it. Can we have the sound of Chris Christie? He believes basically that Trump's former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is cooperating with the Justice Department. Do you think that that is the case?

RODGERS: I don't know. Everyone wants to know --


RODGERS: -- what Mark Meadows is doing.


I mean, he has been so silent. He doesn't seem to be loyal to Trump or on team Trump anymore. At least, they seem to be worried about that. We haven't seen him cooperating visibly, but I suspect that he is. And when I say cooperating, I mean, he's being cooperative. I don't know if he would plead guilty and be a cooperating witness under kind of government parlance.


RODGERS: I suspect they would immunize him for his testimony. But the fact that we haven't seen him come up suggests to me that he's trying to stay under the radar. But I think he probably is going to be a witness in this, and that is enormous because he really had his hand in the operations of all of these pieces of the scheme.

SIDNER: Jennifer Rodgers, Joey Jackson, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

JACKSON: Thank you, Sara.

SIDNER: All right. I want to bring in Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, and CNN contributor John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel. Thank you both for joining us.

John, we just talked about Meadows. If he is cooperating, can you give us a sense of the significance of how important his testimony might be?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It would be as important as mine was during Watergate. It would be actually more important because he was at the scene of so many of the activities that occurred that are now causing Trump the problems he's got.

He would be a remarkable star witness if he's cooperating, and he's got an attorney who could guide him that way. I don't know if he'd make a plea deal or how he'd work it out, but he'd be a powerful witness and Trump would be in deep problems.

SIDNER: That was a really significant thing that you just said, that it would be as big as you testifying back in the days of President Nixon. I do want to get, John, your take on something else that Trump's attorney said over the weekend. Let's go ahead and listen to that.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Would you be open to having cameras in the courtroom during this trial?

JOHN LAURO, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I personally want the public to see what's going on in this country right now. I want the public to see what kind of prosecution is going on.

BASH: So, yes?

LAURO: And I want the public to see the evidence. If you ask me what my personal opinion is, the answer is, absolutely, I would like to see that. What I'm concerned about is the government has already signaled that they don't want the press and the American people to see the evidence in this case because they filed an emergency protective order to prevent that from happening.


SIDNER: Cameras haven't been allowed in the federal court since 1946. Should they be in this case in particular?

DEAN: Is that to me?


DEAN: I think they should be. I long thought they should be. I've watched it happen at the state level. It has been quite successful in a number of states. There's a theater aspect to it, but there's also an educational aspect to it.

In Watergate, people began to learn what was happening when the Senate hearings occurred. That's when they've got an education. That's what will happen here. It won't be just soundbites are being taken. Apparently, fear is the reason not to have it. A few academics don't like it. They have studied it and don't find it as effective as those of us who don't study it think so.

But I think it makes the courts open. It gives us the impression that we know what's going on, and I do think we learn from them.

SIDNER: Jane, I know -- I was in your state in Minnesota when the judge in the Derek Chauvin case in the murder of George Floyd broke with the longstanding court rules in your state of Minnesota and did decide that it was imperative that cameras belonged in the courtroom from gavel to gavel, something that Minnesota had never done before.

What would be the best argument for allowing cameras in the court in a federal case?

JANE KIRTLEY, PROFESSOR OF MEDIA ETHICS AND LAW, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Well, I think in any case, any high-profile criminal case like this, first of all, pedantic answer to say we have a First Amendment right to be there. The public does. It's not practical for most people to attend the trial.

And as the Supreme Court justice once said, we don't demand infallibility from our institutions, but it's unrealistic to expect us to have confidence in them if we cannot see what is being done. What the Chauvin trial proved was you can have a high profile, controversial case, you can set up rules, you can have a judge who is clear about what conduct will be permitted and what will not be, and it goes forward.

And I think it's fair to say that the public confidence in the verdict in the Chauvin case was enhanced immeasurably by the fact that we got to watch the whole thing and not have to rely on secondary spin about what was going on in that courtroom.


SIDNER: I would have to agree with you. Just having been there and having watched people see how it unfolded, people, including, you know, the defense attorneys, thought that the case was at least fair.

I do want to talk to you, though, about Donald Trump himself because he is known to say wild things, to make faces and the like. He likes the camera. That's no secret. Would it be a disruption, do you think, in a case like this, Jane?

KIRTLEY: Well, here's the thing. Judges have inherent authority to control their courtroom. They don't like to give up control, and I think that's one of the reasons they really don't like cameras in the courtroom. It's going to be up to the presiding judge in all of Donald Trump's trials to make it clear that that kind of conduct is not going to be permitted. Not from him, not from any of the attorneys, not from anybody in that courtroom.

It will be an interesting thing to see because, of course, in a normal trial, the judge would not hesitate to impose a contempt order on somebody who didn't obey. It'll be interesting to see what happens here. But truly, I believe that if the judge maintains control in the courtroom, Donald Trump is going to have to learn that he simply cannot act like that.

As you know, in the Chauvin trial, partly because of COVID, one of the ways that our presiding judge, Cahill, dealt with this was by having very strict restrictions on where people could physically be in the courtroom. They were behind plexiglass. They had to stand behind a podium. You know, posturing, running around wasn't permitted. I'm not saying that would necessarily be a good idea here, but it would be one option the judge could consider.

SIDNER: Yeah, there was only one or two chairs for each of the family members and only one person from the media also that could be in there as somebody from the pool. So, it did really restrict who could be in the court. And it went very smoothly. Judge Cahill was very strict with everyone.

Thank you both, John Dean and Jane. I appreciate you coming on the show.

DEAN: Thank you.

KIRTLEY: Thank you.

SIDNER: Just ahead, the Republican candidates increasingly using a new tactic on the campaign trail. Attacking Vice President Kamala Harris as a way to undercut President Biden. Will it work?

And a bit later, a nightmare scenario. The use of facial recognition turned one mother's life upside down.



SIDNER: New tonight, former Vice President Mike Pence reaching the donor threshold to qualify for the first GOP primary presidential debate later this month. He had already met the polling requirement. And on that debate stage, we will see if Republican candidates use the kind of attack lines that we've heard lately on the campaign trail. Listen to this.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You have this situation, Biden may not even be the candidate. I mean, you know, let's just be clear. You could have Kamala.

NIKKI HALEY, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't afford a President Kamala Harris. I will say that over and over.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wait until he's 83 and 84 and 85 and 86. And by the way, in case he doesn't, you get Kamala Harris.


SIDNER: The GOP candidates increasingly making Vice President Kamala Harris their prime target on the campaign trail, as you heard there. The vice president will be in Philadelphia tomorrow to highlight the Biden administration's investments in infrastructure.

Let's bring in our panel. John Avalon, CNN senior political analyst, Ashley Allison, CNN political commentator and former national coalitions director for Biden-Harris 2020, and Gerard Filitti, senior counsel at the Lawfare Project.

I'm going to start with you, Gerard, because you have an interesting take. You think that this is a good idea? To go after Harris?

GERARD FILITTI, SENIOR COUNSEL, LAWFARE PROJECT: It's a good idea for the Republicans to go after Harris. You're making an issue out of Biden's age without making an issue out of Biden's age, and you're challenging someone who doesn't really have a track record, not in policy, not in initiatives. She is essentially a good mouthpiece for social issues, but there's nothing that she can go on her own to win the candidacy right now.

So, by making this about Kamala Harris, the Republicans are basically trying to say that it's not about Joe Biden. He may be popular, he may be doing well, but this is about Kamala Harris. And with her, we have a better chance.

SIDNER: So, she can't defend her record because she isn't the president, obviously. But she is the vice president. This line of attack has been used before, Ashley. We've heard it before. Now, we're hearing it again, though this time in a different forum.

Is this about her political record? Is this about how she has done as a V.P., or is it about race and gender or all of the above?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is all of the above. But to be clear, the leading factor is race and gender. When you look at her being the first attorney general for the state of California --

SIDNER: Uh-hmm.

ALLISON: -- and some of the initiatives that she put forth there, she ran the second largest department of justice in the country. That's nothing to sleep on.

When you look at her when she was a senator, the line of questionings that she took forth on really important and critical hearings, that's about the same track record as a Tim Scott.

When you look now, she is the sitting vice president. One, vice presidents don't set the agenda. They are loyal to their boss, the president. And so, I commend her in doing that.

But two, when you do actually look at the issues that she has worked on, whether it's reproductive health, whether it is most recently announcing lowering the cost of child care, whether it is the historic trip she took to Africa with billions of dollars and investment into that country, that is nothing to just roll your eyes out and say she's unprepared.

They are taking that attack because she would be the first. They see it has worked before when you attack people's race and gender, and they hope that it feeds the base. And yet again, it's an easy way not to have to go after Donald Trump. SIDNER: Yeah, she'd be the first woman and the first woman of Indian and Black descent.

ALLISON: Black descent.

SIDNER: All right. John Avlon, has Kamala Harris, in your view, because you've also seen the criticism of her as vice president, correct, do they have a lane here?


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there is a legitimate criticism to be made of Kamala Harris in terms of the enormous political talent who has failed to convert that talent to broader popularity, albeit difficult to do on issues like immigration.

There are credible things you can point out that don't have to do with the undercurrent of race and gender, which is a subtext in all of these attacks early on. Things like a very high staff turnover in all her positions, that is a legitimate concern.

Now, the Biden team is putting her front forward in this campaign, apparently, and really in issues that resonate with the base. The problem is moderate swing voters, independent voters, she's underwater compared to the president.

And so, it's not a surprise to see Republicans going after her because it is a proxy. Biden is actually difficult to demonize. Kamala Harris is something that can resonate with folks both on the race and gender level and other questions.

SIDNER: Let's take a look at a couple of polls here. Let's pull the first one up that shows the popularity among Democrats. If you did this across the board, the numbers would look obviously different.

AVLON: Yeah.

SIDNER: But among white Democrats who approve of Biden's job as president, 87%. Democrats of color, 73. I also want to go to the other one that shows where Kamala Harris is. Look at this. White Democrats, 87. Democrats of color, 73.

John, does that surprise you?

AVLON: It does surprise me because I would think that her numbers among Democrats of color would be higher, because she is such a trailblazing figure, and that is the source of a lot of the vitriol she has gotten.

And if you go back and look in 2020, the early attacks on her, they're all these sorts of she's extreme, she's radical, she's out of touch, she's insincere, she's not up to it, almost echoes of the attacks on Obama that we saw early on. But I would imagine that her numbers among, you know, Democrats of color would be higher, and they're not.

ALLISON: You know, I do think one reason why is the first two years of her -- of the administration, they were literally locked in the White House because of COVID. And now, you see her going out to over 30 some states across the geography of our country, talking to people, really getting to introduce herself as a candidate.

Sometimes, when you're the first, people don't know how to interact with you. And I think right now, we're on a learning curve as America. And the more people get to know Kamala Harris, the more those numbers are going to go up.

SIDNER: I want to let you listen to some sound that we heard last week. It's -- the Democrats really, as you mentioned, sort of she has been this response sort of team, attack team that they sent out after the Republicans do something that they feel is untoward.


SIDNER: Right. So, let's listen a little bit to what she says as she's talking about teaching black history that's going on in Florida and abortion rights.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right here in Florida, they plan to teach students that enslaved people benefited from slavery. They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us. In an attempt to divide and distract our nation with unnecessary debates.

Republicans in Congress have proposed to ban abortion nationwide. Nationwide. But I have news for them. We're not having that.


We're not having that.


We're not standing for that.


SIDNER: Gerard, do you think that she has been effective and could it backfire on Republicans?

FILITTI: I think she has been very effective when it comes to some things. The criticism of the Florida school standards, she has been very effective. She's the right person to be delivering that message and it really resonates. She is affected by it. A lot of people are. She's the perfect messenger.

Abortion as well. That's an issue that resonates not just with Democrats and independents, but a lot of Republicans as well. And having that voice, having that experience talk about it, it goes very far.

The flipside, however, is that a lot of other progressive issues or issues seen as progressive don't really resonate with a lot of voters. We see other polls that show that where Biden is weak is, for example, among non-white voters who have non-college education. And those numbers are upside down as well. And that's a values issue. So, when you have Kamala Harris addressing progressive issues, that might not play so well even to Democratic voters.

SIDNER: That's really interesting.

AVLON: I would just push back on the idea that, and maybe you weren't saying this precisely, but the idea that her criticism of the educational standards in the new Florida curriculum, saying that, you know, slaves benefited from slavery, that I think it's a mistake to view that as a play to the base issue or progressive issue.


AVLON: I think that's an American history.

ALLISON: Absolutely.

AVLON: I think that's a reality issue. And I think it's a mistake to say that simply played in the base or articulated progressive point of view. It is bigger than that.

ALLISON: Can I just one thing on voters of color without college education? That is more an enthusiasm question. And will they be able on the campaign to go out meet those voters where they are and actually convince them to take their time to go vote them?

When you look at the issues, though, they are aligned with where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is. And so, that's the exciting part about the 2024 campaign, when it really gets up and running, is getting out and being able to talk directly to voters.


SIDNER: I want to quickly go back because there was a mistake on our numbers when it comes to Kamala Harris. This is why you were so surprised.

AVLON: Oh. Okay.

SIDNER: But take a look at these numbers. So, it's 78% of white Democrats. I think we had 87. We had it transposed. And 75% Democrats of color.

AVLON: Very important correction, first of all.


AVLON: Thank you. That symmetry was unlikely. So, here, what you're seeing is that her numbers among white Democrats are decidedly lower than the president.

SIDNER: The president, yeah.

AVLON: And that speaks to the enthusiasm gap you hear among donors and private, you know, around Kamala Harris. Now, her number among Democrats of color, slightly higher than the president, but just barely. And one would expect, given her historic nature, that that number would be significantly higher. So that number makes a lot more sense.

SIDNER: She would be a double first if that was to happen, if she was to become president.

AVLON: Oh, 100%. And I think there's a lot of goodwill going into the election. And you can see in the summer '21, her numbers start going south along with the president. But those are interesting, you know.

ALLISON: I think across the board, this election is going to be whether you can get your base enthused, and that means you're going to have to talk to voters. I think on the Republican side as well, we don't even know who's going to be on the top of the ticket. But for Democrats, it's going to be all about enthusiasm because I think they have the policy, right?

AVLON: Yeah, it's independence and moderates, you know. I always think it does.

SIDNER: Always. Right.


You can almost bet on that at the end of the day. All right, Gerard, Ashley, John, thank you, guys, so much for that.

All right, up next, a Detroit mom suing the city, claiming she was falsely arrested for carjacking and robbery while she was eight months pregnant due to faulty facial recognition technology. She will explain what happened to her, next.



SIDNER: A disturbing case of false identification. Porcha Woodruff was eight months pregnant when six Detroit police officers showed up to her home saying she's being arrested for carjacking and robbery. Serious crimes, Woodruff says, she never committed. In a new lawsuit, Woodruff claims investigators' use of faulty facial recognition technology led to her wrongful arrest.

In a statement to CNN, Detroit's police chief said he has -- quote -- "reviewed the allegations contained in the lawsuit. They are very concerning," adding, "We are taking this matter very seriously, but we cannot comment further at this time due to the need for additional investigation."

Joining me now is Porcha Woodruff and her attorney, Ivan Land. Thank you both for being here.


SIDNER: Porcha, can you describe to me what it was like when police came to arrest you while you were eight months pregnant?

WOODRUFF: Okay. I woke up that morning. I was preparing to get my daughter's ready for school. I initially, you know, thought it was my daughter banging at the door. I heard a real loud knock. I thought it was my daughter running outside to, you know, grab something out of the cart, maybe a book bag or something like that.

So, ran downstairs and I opened the door. And it was about six police officers standing at my door. The officer asked, are you Porcha Woodruff? I said, yes. I was happy. She said, well, I have a warrant for your arrest. Initially, I was like, okay, you can't -- what do you mean? Like you can't have a warrant. What do you mean? I thought it was a joke, honestly.

So, when she told me she had a warrant for my arrest, I asked, a warrant for my arrest for what, because I wasn't aware of anything. It took a minute. I asked numerous times. I asked a few times. And then another officer came up to the door and said, well, we have a warrant for your arrest for carjacking.

And I kind of, you know, laughed it off. I'm like, wait, no, you can't be serious. My vehicle is sitting right here in the driveway, which was two vehicles at the time in the driveway. I said, are you sure? That can't be possible. I opened the door a little bit further to show them that I was pregnant. I said, I'm eight months pregnant. Who am I going to carjack?

SIDNER: Was there ever a point while you were in police custody that you heard police questioning themselves as to whether they had the wrong suspect after you kept telling them and showing them that you were eight months pregnant? Did anyone ever say something like, I don't know, maybe it's not her?

WOODRUFF: No. No one ever did. They looked at the paperwork. You know, they showed me the mugshot. And that was it. Nobody ever did anything else other than that. Nothing else was done.

SIDNER: Did the witness say that the person that carjacked them was pregnant visibly?

WOODRUFF: No. I did ask that question when I was -- after I was interviewed by the detective. And no one could confirm that the suspect name in the carjacking was pregnant.

SIDNER: Should law enforcement in your view be using facial recognition technology, knowing that there are biases that everyone knows about? There are studies about some of those biases. Usually, Black and brown people are misidentified.

LAND: You know, I read a lot of comments. I don't have the same feelings about facial recognition as others do. I think facial recognition is helpful because it helps identify the suspects if you use it the right way. It was a matter out of Detroit, Michigan where it was a suspect that used facial recognition. Detroit Police did some further background, and they arrested the suspect.


In this instance, they got a facial recognition hit from a victim and put the facial recognition photo in front of the victim who, by the way, stated in his written statement that he had been drinking. So, he might not have known that the victim looked the same way and it just was not accurate.

So, I had a problem with them allowing him to identify Miss Woodruff because it might not have been accurate because of his state of mind being drunk. So, this was just a terrible policing all the way around.

SIDNER: So, what you're saying is you're okay with the use of facial recognition technology if it is used with good policing at the same time, with the proper policing at the same time.

Porcha, now, to you, the ACLU has said six people have reported being wrongly identified in -- by law enforcement. In these cases, as a result of facial recognition technology. How do you see facial recognition technology? Should it be used? Is it a good idea?

WOODRUFF: I have my pros and cons about the facial technology recognition because I'm an example. Me personally, I'm not for it. You know, I'm on the other end. It was used to identify me. So, I can't say, oh, okay, I'm for it.

And I've been in a situation where it was used and it wasn't used to the good use. It wasn't effectively used, I would say, because here we are with this situation. And it was thee wrong identity. They didn't use it the correct way. Me personally, I'm not a fan of it. I can't say that.

SIDNER: Can I ask you just quickly how you are, how your children are and what this did to you, and how long you were in police custody?

WOODRUFF: I'm still having issues. I am still having issues. I'm dealing with the postpartum. I just had my son in March. My children, they're having issues. They're stressed. They're having anxiety issues. They're having issues with, you know, D&Ts (ph). They're having issues, you know, with trying to understand and cope with the fact that I was arrested in front of them. That was an experience that I can't take back.

And it should have been avoided. My children shouldn't have had to experience that, for something I didn't do. That was a whole traumatic situation within itself. And I was pregnant.

SIDNER: Did you suffer any adverse reaction to, you know, being held for quite a long time in the jail? Did you end up having to have any medical treatment?

WOODRUFF: I did go to the hospital after I was released. I was having contractions. My blood pressure was up. I was also diagnosed with gas -- gestational diabetes, my apologies. So, my sugar and everything by me not eating, I was dehydrated. You know, I was trying to do different techniques while I was in the detention center, you know, to keep my anxiety down because I was having a panic attack because I didn't know what to do. I felt helpless in there.

But my main concern was making sure that my unborn child was safe because that could have ended in a different and something totally different. I could have lost my child being under that type of stress and being in that type of situation.

SIDNER: Porcha Woodruff and Mr. Land, thank you so much for coming on to tell us your story.

LAND: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

SIDNER: I am here with retired NYPD Sergeant Felipe Rodriguez, and we've got a lot of questions for him, including whether this technology should be used by law enforcement. We'll talk all about it, next.



SIDNER: All right, let's talk more about the problems associated with facial recognition technology with Felipe Rodriguez, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is also a retired NYPD sergeant and detective.

All right, I want to start with this because this is something that we heard from -- in this particular case. That according to the ACLU, Porcha is at least the sixth person who has reported being wrongly accused of a crime as a result of facial recognition technology. Isn't it telling that all six of these folks are Black and even advanced technology seems to have a bias? Should we be using it?

FELIPE RODRIGUEZ, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The mass technology, as we see, isn't perfect, right? When we have facial recognition, it's still in the infancy. So, at this point, what we're seeing is that the detectives or whoever is conducting the investigation should do so with caution. At this moment, it hasn't been perfected. It's just another tool in the toolbox.

So, we're seeing that there are problems with the facial recognition. So, it's obviously some sort of the flawed design or the technology just ends up caught up to the way our features are --


RODRIGUEZ: -- basically.

SIDNER: Black and brown people, it tends not to recognize as accurately.


SIDNER: But it has been used for things like finding missing people, solving crimes. I think in 2021, I was looking at these numbers, the Federal Government Accountability Office reported that 42 federal agencies that employ law enforcement have used facial recognition technology. How can it be used with accuracy and fairly in a society where there are cameras everywhere now?


RODRIGUEZ: That's correct. Surveillance is everywhere. So, we're going to see that it's a big way to combat crime. Anything that happens now, the first thing we do is we send detectives out to canvass the area and make sure that we do have footage. The footage then results into what? Putting that program and using facial recognition.

So, yet we still have to do like everything else. We have to corroborate. We just can't take it upon a machine telling us it's the person. Let's find out where that person was that night. Let's try to establish an alibi. Let's try to maybe interview witnesses. And let's make sure that when we do a photo array or photo lineup, we do it in the fairest manner, which would be sometimes, guess what? I could be the detective and I say, do me a favor, you run the lineup.

This way, you don't even know who the bad person or the individual that could be the suspect at that time. So, when we interact with the person who could be the complainant or the victim, we're not even implicitly, without even knowing, a bias being presented. And we do so in a professional and just manner. And that's also very important.

SIDNER: Something that Porcha said was that the detectives did not hear from the witness that the person who attacked them, carjacked them, was pregnant. She was eight months pregnant. That would have been a big clue.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. That's correct.

SIDNER: Thank you so much, sergeant, for joining us. I really appreciate you coming on and explaining all that to us.

RODRIGUEZ: My pleasure. Thank you.

SIDNER: All right. Ahead, a major brawl at a dock in Montgomery, Alabama and it broke out along racial lines. Now, arrest warrants have been issued. We'll explain what happened and what to expect tomorrow, next.



SIDNER: "Tomorrow's News Tonight," a brawl for the ages. The mayor of Montgomery, Alabama and the police chief holding a news conference tomorrow afternoon on what has become a viral riverfront altercation.

It happened Saturday evening after a Black man described by witnesses a cruise boat crew member told a group of white men to move their boat. It was in the wrong place. The groups appeared to become agitated with one another when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, another white dude attacks the crew member, and the scene devolves. You see the hat go flying and fists flying, and then they all pile on.

According to police, several people have been detained with charges pending and arrest warrants have been issued. You will notice a lot of people come to that gentleman's rescue, particularly a lot of Black folks. A lot of the people that started that have definitely been arrested. You see them being taken away in handcuffs at some point in this video.

Thank you so much for watching. Our coverage, it all continues ahead.